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Farewell Major Tom


      January 16, 2016      
 


A fintech rockstar has died!

The man who was alternately known as Thin White Duke, Ziggy Stardust, and Jareth the Goblin King was also a fintech entrepreneur.

Unbeknownst to many, David Bowie was no stranger to the world of tech and finance:
  • In 1996, he released "Telling Lies", exclusively online and selling 300,000 copies.
  • In 1997, he became the first performer to securitize his song royalties, wrapping them into so-called “Bowie Bonds”.
  • In 1998, he launched his own Internet Service Provider, "BowieNet".
  • In 2000, he partnered with USABancshares.com to start his own online bank, “BowieBanc”, with…you guessed it, pictures of himself on the ATM cards.
  • Bowie's finance legacy lives on today, with Ziggy Stardust adorning the front of the Brixton £10 note.
 
Brixton 10GBP
 
With inspiration, we pay homage this week to a true fintech pioneer - and musical legend. Take a moment to put his legacy in context. Then, watch the video below, as Ziggy sings “little fat man with a pug-nosed face” to Ricky Gervais in Extras.

 
Bowie Video
The 10 largest NYC fintech startup funding rounds of 2015 - Congrats to Artivest, for making the AlleyWatch list. The list breaks down the top 10 funding rounds for fintech startups in 2015. Read more


BOWIE
A short history of the Bowie Bond - The FT provides a brief history of the Bowie Bond. Bowie had a prescient view of the creative destruction that the internet was going to have on the music industry and wanted to take some risk off the table. Read more

Could 'Bowie Bonds' provide the groundwork to ease the student loan crisis? - Did David Bowie's Bowie Bonds provide the bullprint to solve today’s student debt crisis? Read more

BowieNet: how David Bowie's ISP foresaw the future of the internet - in 1998, Bowie was envisioning something we all now take for granted with his ISP BowieNet - that link between popstar, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, fanbase, and culture. Read more

Forbes article from 2000 announcing the launch of BowieBanc - We had to dig deep for this one, an article from March 2000 in Forbes. “People don’t wake up in the morning and say, ‘Gosh, I’m really turned on by my bank." Highlighting what a fintech pioneer Bowie really was in setting up BowieBanc. Read more


INDUSTRY NEWS
Republicans and democrats agree: We hate Wall Street - Republicans and Democrats are both blasting Wall Street for being too big to fail, rampant with “fraud,” and absent of any ethics, leaving the industry wondering how to respond. Read more

Corporate venture capitalists at banks leave for the start-up life - Over the past few months Sberbank, HSBC, StateStreet, Goldman, and CME have all seen corporate venture talent leave to join start-ups. Read more

Snapchat wants to manage your money - After shutting down its Lens Store, (a feature allowing users to buy photo filters) Snapchat continues to search for ways to monetize its users. The app's new service will offer automated access to exchange traded funds. Read more

Insurance execs’ midlife crisis cure: four AIG, ACE veterans join startup P2P insurer Lemonade - We have been following the growing number of Wall Street veterans who have left to join fintech startups. The P2P insurance startup, Lemonade is the latest example. Read more

Foundry Group end their FG Angels syndicate on AngelList - Brad Feld (Managing Partner at Foundry Group) blogged about his firm's experience of running a syndicate on AngelList and why they are ending the experiment. Read more

Will this $250 device accelerate the adoption of driverless cars and change auto insurance forever? - Google estimates the current cost of the equipment in its Google driverless car (excluding the car itself) is $150k. This includes $75k for the Velodyne LIDAR (the spinning thing on the roof)! Could a $250 LIDAR, with no moving parts, accelerate the proliferation of driverless cars and in lock-step change the auto insurance market? Read more

Comparison of the 3 biggest digital wallets for one-click checkout - The three largest digital wallets with one click checkout include PayPal's OneTouch, MasterCard’s MasterPass and Visa's Visa Checkout. MasterPass seems to be winning the race with over 40m active users. Read more

Not too big to fail. Too expensive to exist - Metlife’s divestiture highlights the strain of government regulations on firms deemed to be “systematically important.” The populist’s call to “breakup” large financial institutions may go unheeded, but the measures to make them safer may have the same effect. Read more

Investors snub money managers for market clones - Investors withdrew $207b from money managers in 2015, while pouring $414b into passively managed funds, highlighting a sea change in the asset management industry. The withdrawals represent the first net outflows since the 2008 financial crisis. Read more

In Q4, VCs kept funding young companies but slowed later stage bets - In the final quarter of 2015, investors zeroed in on seed stage funding, participating in 52 deals with an average deal size of $7.2m (as opposed to $4.1m in Q3). Read more


FINANCINGS
CoinDesk - Digital Currency Group acquires CoinDesk. CoinDesk is a media company focused on the crypto currency industry that also holds one of its most high-profile conferences. Read more

FinanceFox - Berlin based FinanceFox raised a $5.5m Series A round, led by Salesforce Ventures. Read more

Jemstep - Invesco acquired Jemstep, one of the first online-automated investment platforms. Read more

Mambu - Germany based banking platform raised a $8.7m Series B round, led by Acton Capital Partners. Read more

Moneybox - UK based automated-investing mobile app raised a $3m Seed round, led by Samos Investments. Read more

Picwell - Philadelphia based health plan recommendation engine raised a $3m Series A round, led by BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners. Read more

PolicyGenius - New York based insurance discovery and purchase platform rasied a $15m Series B round led by Revolution Ventures. Read more

Starling - UK based digital bank raised $70m from Harald McPike, the founder of QuantRes, a Bahamas-based quantitative investment manager. Read more

 
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